Security and fraud protection attached to Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden’s $5 trillion in COVID-19 spending were so loose that hundreds of billions, if not trillions, were stolen over the past few years. An auditor who examined where the money went recently told Congress that as much as $2.5 trillion dollars of the “emergency” funds may have ended up in China and Russia.
Unemployment fraud skyrocketed during the lockdowns supported by both presidents and besides causing massive inflation, the money was likely used to undermine the United States abroad.
“Data on this is still being evaluated, but there are some estimates that half of the Pandemic unemployment assistance fraud went to adversarial nations,” said Linda Miller during testimony on Oct. 19 before the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Her comments came in response to a question from Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) concerning a recent federal prosecution of a group of Chinese government-linked hackers who stole an estimated $20 million in relief funds, writes The Epoch Times.
Ms. Miller is the former Deputy Executive Director of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) in the Department of Justice (DOJ). Michael Horowitz, the DOJ Inspector General, heads the PRAC office. She is also the former Assistant Director of the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Forensic Audits and Investigative Service group. She is now an anti-waste and fraud expert consultant.
“The nearly $5 trillion in government relief spending during the COVID-19 pandemic—much of which was disbursed as direct payments to citizens—created the perfect storm for fraud. A combination of inadequate oversight and internal controls, large-scale organized fraud rings, and antiquated data and information systems contributed to the massive, widespread fraud we saw during the pandemic,” Ms. Miller told the subcommittee during her prepared testimony.
“Agencies were unprepared for the fraud they encountered largely due to a lack of attention on fraud risks. GAO issued its Framework for Managing Fraud Risks in Federal Programs in 2015, but regrettably, little attention was paid to establishing the preventative controls GAO called for to manage fraud risks,” Ms. Miller testified.
Right now, current federal law states that even when agencies know the person applying is a fraudster, they have no recourse to stop them. Robert Asaro-Angelo, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, told the congressional panel that even if the government agency is aware that a fraud actor is applying for benefits, they are still required to let them apply.
“Right now, under statute, we have to let everybody apply for UI benefits no matter if we know that they’re stolen in advance,” Asaro-Angelo said. “This is where I think we need to marry technology and policy.”
Miller stressed the importance of changing the current statute to prevent fraudulent actors, saying “this is fraud that’s funding our adversaries.”
“There is a full underground market of fraud actors today – we call it fraud-as-a-service – and those fraud actors have at their disposal really sophisticated artificial intelligence tools. We cannot fight this adversary the way that we are currently fighting this adversary because this adversary is serious, and they’re looking to steal money to create not just a financial problem but a national security problem.”
The auditor called for the creation of an anti-fraud office that has the ability to stop the raiding of our treasury before it starts.
“Such an office would have the necessary skills and resources to work solely on addressing the data accountability and technology challenges agencies face at every level of government,” Miller concluded.
Some have argued that Donald Trump’s “most enduring legacy could be the historic rise in the national debt.” The 45th president added $7.8 trillion during his time in the White House — approaching World War II levels, relative to the size of the economy.” Nearly 70 percent of that debt was racked up during the lockdowns supported by Anthony Fauci, which saw millions across the country lose their jobs.
According to Pro Publica, “the growth in the annual deficit under Trump ranks as the third-biggest increase, relative to the size of the economy, of any U.S. presidential administration, according to a calculation by a leading Washington budget maven, Eugene Steuerle, co-founder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. And unlike George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln, who oversaw the larger relative increases in deficits, Trump did not launch two foreign conflicts or have to pay for a civil war.
Falling deeper into the red is the opposite of what Trump, the self-styled ‘King of Debt,’ said would happen if he became president. In a March 31, 2016, interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post, Trump said he could pay down the national debt, then about $19 trillion, “over a period of eight years” by renegotiating trade deals and spurring economic growth.
After he took office, Trump predicted that economic growth created by the 2017 tax cut, combined with the proceeds from the tariffs he imposed on a wide range of goods from numerous countries, would help eliminate the budget deficit and let the U.S. begin to pay down its debt. On July 27, 2018, he told Sean Hannity of Fox News: “We have $21 trillion in debt. When this [the 2017 tax cut] really kicks in, we’ll start paying off that debt like it’s water.”
Nine days later, he tweeted, ‘Because of Tariffs we will be able to start paying down large amounts of the $21 trillion in debt that has been accumulated, much by the Obama Administration.’”
It turns out that $2.5 trillion or so may have gone to China and Russia. Not that Biden cares. Roll Call reported that “according to the CBO, Biden is going to match Trump’s addition to the national debt in just three years, reaching a total of $7.1 trillion over his four years. That would be $1.5 trillion more than Trump contributed during his term, which included the 2020 one-time COVID emergency spending. If Biden’s 2024 proposed budget actually passed, he would add as much to the national debt as Trump and Bush 43 combined.”
No wonder the current administration keeps pretending like inflation isn’t happening.